By Steve Pick
For the next 50 weeks, I'm gonna pick one album to represent each year of my life, and give you a good reason to want to hear it yourself. Inspired by a game I played on Facebook recently, I figured it would be fun to knock out quick reviews of albums I've loved for so long.
Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley, Chess Records
1958 was a very good year for jazz albums - you can choose between Blue Train by Coltrane, Something Else by Cannonball, and Monk's Music by Monk, just to name three amazing examples - while rock & roll ruled the singles charts. At the time, most rock albums were collections of previously released singles, and Bo Diddley's debut album fit the bill. But, oh, my goodness, such singles.
There's the title track, the song that gave the name to a beat that's been recycled thousands of times. There's "I'm a Man," a blues so tough Muddy Waters immediately copped it for himself. There's "Bring It to Jerome," with its haunted house rhythm sound, and sideman Jerome Green proving he could sing his name as proudly as Bo could sing his. There's "Who Do You Love?," one of the spookiest and most exhilarating records ever made. There's "Diddy Wah Diddy, "Diddly Daddy," and "Hey! Bo Diddley," classics all which prove you don't need much more than an intense rhythm, some sonic experimentation, and a belief that you are the man the world's been waiting for to achieve rock perfection.
Strangely, though you can find pretty much all these songs scattered across Bo Diddley compilations, this particular album, with the famous photo of Diddley posing with his legs spread wide, and his band wearing those checkered jackets, is out of print these days. This needs to be rectified.
Oh, Facebook friends, assuming you've memorized the list I posted a few weeks back, you might be wondering why I changed the 1958 entry. It turns out I was misinformed, and Howlin' Wolf's Moanin' In the Moonlight wasn't released until 1959. I still highly recommend that one, but Bo Diddley owns the year of my birth.
If you feel like playing along at home, this website allows you to see pretty much everything that came out in a given year.